FIVB Moscow Four Star
- Moscow, Russia
- Aug. 7-12, 2018
After qualifying and the first three pool play matches in eight groups, teams from eight countries earned free passes to the second knockout round with pool titles. The eight teams represented the top eight seeds in the competition, save one, No. 8 Americans Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb, who were edged by No. 9 Cherif Younousse/Ahmed Tijan of Qatar.
After Injuries forced Brazilians Alvaro Filho and Thiago Barbosa to team up in Moscow as Saymon Santos and George Wanderley were unavailable, the duo hopped a plane from Vienna to play in the qualifying round.
“I wasn’t supposed to be here, but then I and Thiago had the chance to play here because both our teammates were injured,” Alvaro said. “I was on the point of booking my flight home to Brazil and then Thiago pointed out that neither of us had a partner, so we thought ‘we’re two guys who want to play, so let’s go’.”
Filho/Thiago won their qualifying match to make Thursday’s main draw.
Americans Bill Kolinske/Miles Evans also made it through qualifying, topping Slovenia’s Nejc Zemijak/Jan Pokersnik 21-19, 16-21, 15-9 to push through to Thursday’s pool play.
The Brazilians and Americans will play for a spot in the first knockout round in a win or home match in Pool F after Team USA was edged by Smedins/Samoilovs 23-25, 21-15, 15-12. Alvaro Filho/Thiago were bested by Latvia’s Martins Plavins/Edgars Tocs.
The other six teams moving on to the 32 team main draw were:
- Youssef Krou/Quincy Aye (France)
- Esteban Grimalt/Marco Grimalt (Chile)
- Murat Giginoglu/Volkan Gogtepe (Turkey)
- Tobias Winter/Julian Horl (Austria)
- Arnas Rumsevicius/Lukas Kazdailis (Lithuania)
- Maksim Hudyakov/Ruslan Bykanov (Russia)
Krou/Aye ousted fellow Frenchmen Maxime Thiercy/Arnaud Gauthier-Rat in tiebreak 20-22, 21-14, 15-12. Giginoglu/Gogtepe and Rumsevicius/Kazdailis also went the distance to claim their spots, each rallying for the three-set victory.
Once pool play began on Thursday, the fast and furious action doled out eight pool titles. Second seeded Spaniards Pablo Herrera/Adrian Gavira had the toughest road to a crown, playing two tiebreak matches in Pool B, rallying for a 23-25, 21-16, 15-6 win over Rumsevicius/Kazdailis and hanging on for a 21-19, 19-21, 15-13 victory over Russia’s Nikita Liamin/Viacheslav Krasilnikov (21-19, 19-21, 15-13).
Seven other teams punched their ticket to the second knockout round with pool play titles:
- Pool A: No. 1 Oleg Stoyanovskiy/Igor Velichko (Russia)
- Pool C: No. 3 Alexander Brouwer/Robert Meeuwsen (Netherlands)
- Pool D: No. 4 Paolo Nicolai/Daniele Lupo (Italy)
- Pool E: No. 5 Vitor Felipe/Evandro Goncalves Oliveira (Brazil)
- Pool F: No. 6 Janis Smedins/Aleksandrs Samoilovs (Latvia)
- Pool G: No. 7 Michal Bryl/Grzegorz Fijalek (Poland)
- Pool H: No. 9 Cherif Younousse/Ahmed Tijan (Qatar)
Stoyanovskiy/Velichko fought their way past Germany’s Julius Thole/Clemens Wickler for the Pool A title (17-21, 26-24, 15-10).
Younousse/Tijan bested eighth seeded Americans Taylor Crabb/Jake Gibb for the Pool H crown, 21-19, 22-20. Crabb/Gibb won their opening in a sweep over Germans Lars Fluggen/Nils Ehlers.
The final round of pool play action wraps up on Friday followed by the first knockout round.